The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is being slammed for telling his constituents to stay at home after the coronavirus pandemic started, yet traveling around his state and reportedly incurring substantial travel expenses.
In mid-March 2020, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who was later elected chairman of the DCCC in December 2020, tweeted, “In light of coronavirus and out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of folks across the Hudson Valley, my campaign has suspended the collection of petition signatures. Stay safe and healthy.”
In light of coronavirus and out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of folks across the Hudson Valley, my campaign has suspended the collection of petition signatures.
Stay safe and healthy.
— Sean Patrick Maloney (@spmaloney) March 13, 2020
Within days, in an interview with WAMC, Maloney asserted:
It is so important that people all do their part. We can all do our part. Stay at home. Don’t go out if you don’t need to, minimize your contact with other people. If a member of your family is sick, the whole family’s got to stay home so we don’t go spread it. That’s why having some groceries in the house to last a week or two is important. You know people could be checking in on their neighbors, people who are vulnerable or shut in, you can do that by phone or email remotely is the best way to do it. But you know, we all got to look out for one another and we have a role to play because if each of us does the right things in terms of hand washing and social distancing, we will stop this virus in its tracks, and that will add an enormous benefit for all of us.
“We’re all in this together and we’re learning as we go,” he continued. “You know, we’re, you know, my family is home. My family includes kids and college kids out of college and one in college. Everybody’s had their life upended. We are cooking and sharing time as a family. We try to get out of the house and exercise to keep our sanity. We’re getting a lot of projects done around the house, I can tell you that. And from what I can tell my neighbors and constituents are pretty much doing the same thing. We’re the lucky ones, right?”
But The Washington Free Beacon noted, “Over the next nine months, however, he spent nearly $29,000 on ‘ground transportation’ and ‘automobile expenses,’ financial disclosures show. The disbursements included nearly $20,000 in lease and insurance payments, more than $3,600 in collision repairs, nearly $2,200 in gas, more than $2,100 in rental car fees, and nearly $500 for a satellite radio subscription.”
The executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, Kendra Arnold, told the Free Beacon that Maloney “has a duty to explain” the various payments and that they constituted a “red flag.” She added, “Without having any in-person campaigning, you wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of expenses. Candidates don’t have to link [disbursements] to a specific corresponding event, so of course anything could be made up. We generally look for spending that isn’t in the realm of a candidate in the same state or in a similar-sized district.”